The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Iain Shed­den

Pure Com­edy Fa­ther John Misty Sub Pop/In­er­tia Josh Till­man has got­ten a lit­tle un­easy about the planet since his previous al­bum as Fa­ther John Misty, 2015’s rel­a­tively sprightly and at times hi­lar­i­ous — al­beit in his typ­i­cally caus­tic man­ner — I Love You, Honey­bear. The Los An­ge­les-based singer-song­writer and for­mer Fleet Foxes drum­mer took a few swipes at the mod­ern world on that al­bum, no­tably in Bored in the USA and the de­spair­ing clos­ing shout, Holy Shit. Here, over 13 songs, he is fully im­mersed in the tri­als of the 21st cen­tury, de­scrib­ing the al­bum as “a 75-minute trea­tise on mod­ern de­spair”. You get Till­man on re­li­gious big­otry and po­lit­i­cal in­ep­ti­tude ( Pure Com­edy), on the na­ture of celebrity ( To­tal En­ter­tain­ment For­ever) and much more. What takes all of these rants into an­other realm is the ex­quis­ite lan­guage in which they are de­liv­ered and the del­i­cate, laid-back ar­range­ments that back them up. Honey­bear chan­nelled the Beach Boys, John Len­non and Si­mon & Gar­funkel in places; here Harry Nils­son and the am­bi­ence of Beck’s Morn­ing Phase spring to mind, but the ques­tion­ing lyrics and their pained de­liv­ery are unique to Till­man. The 13-minute cen­tre­piece and mas­ter­piece, Leav­ing LA, an aching, stripped-back di­a­tribe on mod­ern liv­ing, is hyp­no­tis­ing in its slow burn and mes­meris­ing in its scope. The am­bi­ent, 10minute So I’m Grow­ing Old on Magic Moun­tain is equally com­pelling, but ev­ery­thing here, much of it piano-based, is beau­ti­ful, chal­leng­ing and se­duc­tive. An al­bum-of-the-year con­tender.

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